BVHS Annual Meeting

We hope you are all well and looking forward to the coming year of events. As always, your suggestions and participation are welcome.

The BVHS Annual Meeting and Election will take place at 1:30 June 27 at North Gate at 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, where board members will be elected and reports will be presented. It will be an in-person meeting after this long year of Covid-19. The Nominating Committee for the BVHS, Don Coelho, Robert Ferri, Richard Walker, Kevin Heskin, and Kevin Bedford, announces that the slate of officers remains the same: Jason Dionne, President, Lori Melucci, Vice-President, John Houghton, Treasurer, Francine Jackson, Secretary, Gail Harris, Director and Member-at-Large, Bob Ferri, Director and Member-at-Large, and Don Coelho, Director and Member-at-Large. If you are interested in joining the board, which organizes history-related activities, lectures, and exhibits and cares for North Gate, the Bakery, and the Fire Station, please contact Don Coelho at Nominations will be also be taken on the floor at the meeting.

We invite you to join the meeting and attend the annual Christine Nowak Lecture that follows. This year the lecture will be by Ken Postle, whose efforts to preserve Blackstone Valley history through conservation of its historic cemeteries have often been chronicled in this newsletter. The title of his talk topic will be “Inconvenient Burials.”

Exhibit: World War II Collection of Kevin Heskin

This exhibit has been postponed until spring. The current indoor and outdoor social gathering limit is 10 people. Although we are disappointed, we hope everyone will stay well and safe and we look forward to seeing you next year.

2-4 pm, Saturday, November 21, 2020

The World War II Collection of Kevin Heskin

Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865

On Saturday, November 21st, Kevin Heskin will again bring an exhibit of his remarkable collection of World War II artifacts to North Gate.

Heskin has long been fascinated with the twentieth century World Wars.  He has spent more than a decade hunting down everything he can find that memorializes these devastating times in our history. His collection includes German, Italian, French, Spanish, British, and Japanese pieces as well as American ones. 

In 2017, he amazed us with his exhibit of his World War I collection at BVHS, and in February 2019, he showed many pieces from his World War II collection. This month, we will have the opportunity to see more highlights from his World War II memorabilia, including uniforms, helmets, map cases, gas masks, rifles, and other items that have survived from the 1940s. 

Don’t miss this event!   We ask that all our guests wear masks and practice social distancing while viewing the collection.

Dairy Days: An Exhibit by Dan Bethel

2:00 – 4:00 pm, October 24 , 2020. North Gate, Blackstone Valley Historical Society

Do you remember when the milkman came to your door, with real milk bottles, some of which were topped with cream? Dan Bethel will take us down Memory Lane, with his collection of bottles from many of the local dairies.

Milk Bottle
Chase and Butterfly Farm

Approximately one hundred milk bottles from Lincoln dairies will be displayed. Many farms will be represented, with different types and styles of bottles,  including painted and slug versions, and many size variations. Other dairy farm items like milk caps will also be on display.

Dairies represented in this exhibit will include Maplehurst,  Henry Jordan Farm, Chase Farm, Butterfly Farm, Chase & Butterfly Farm, Lincoln Woods Farm, Comstock Farm, Rene Lamare, Manville Dairy, Stony Brook, Theinert Farm, Fair Oaks Farm, Pascale Farm, Lonsdale Co. Farm, Jordan Bros/Echo Farm, El Rancho, Carl Franz, Ulrich Demaris, Highland Cottage, Maple Farm, and Clarke Farm.

Dan Bethel is known throughout the Blackstone Valley for his many and varied local collections. Come enjoy a trip back to the more simpler days of having milk delivered right to your door!

Unfortunately, no milk, or other refreshments, will be available. We ask that our guests wear masks.

Great Road Day

BVHS will be open on Great Road Day, September 26, 2020 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. We will be showcasing the work of Greg Duhamel, Johnelle Bergeron, and Ken Postle and all of the other volunteers who have been doing wonderful work restoring historic cemeteries. This exhibit will focus on their work in 2020. Please stop by see some pictures of some of their work from the Facebook group, River Road and Blackstone River Valley Cemeteries. The Arnold’s Lonsdale Bakery will also be open. Please stop by!

Johnelle Bergeron repairs a gravestone

We ask that everyone wear a mask. We want to have fun and be safe. Thank you.

On Great Road Day, many of the historic properties on Great Road will be open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, including Hearthside, Hannaway Blacksmith’s shop, Pullen’s Corner Schoolhouse, Mount Moriah Lodge, and the Saylesville Friend’s Meetinghouse and Cemetery.

Great Road Day Flyer

Great Road Day Map

Events in April

All spring events at BVHS have been canceled due to the COVID epidemic.  The Cemetery Conservation Workshop on April 8, and the talk by Charlotte Taylor, RIHPHC, on April 19, have been cancelled.  The annual meeting in May and the Christine Nowak lecture by Morgan Grefe, RIHS, have also been cancelled.  We hope to reschedule all at a later date.  Everyone stay safe!

Concert: Michael DiMucci “The Sensational 70’s”

We are sorry to say that the concert has been postponed.  We are hoping to have more information for you soon. Thank you.

Michael DiMucci
Michael DiMucci

On March 15, Michael DiMucci, tenor and pianist will present a concert of songs and their stories from America’s past. This program features well-known melodies from the sensational 70s!

Come celebrate with the music that defined the decade from country to pop to soul to singer-songwriter pieces and more. Tickets are $20.   This concert is a fundraiser for BVHS. Tickets are available on in advance, and will be sold at the door.  Click on the links (on top or below) to buy tickets online. There is a small service fee for online ticket purchase.

DiMucci studied piano with the late Chester Fruscione of Trenton, NJ, and continued his studies at the Westminster Conservatory of Music in Princeton, NJ, where he also studied pipe organ. He has played at Linden Place, Blithewold Mansion, the Dunes Club, and many other venues in RI. As a singer, he apprenticed at Boehme Opera in Trenton, NJ for two seasons with Maestro Joseph Pucciatti,  and studied voice with RI baritone, artistic director of Opera Providence, Rene de la Garza.  He has performed throughout the New England area in large and small venues for concerts, private recitals, special events, and weddings, and was a regular guest artist, singing lead tenor roles, at the University of Rhode Island’s Opera Workshop.  He has also performed in concerts and recitals for Opera Providence, the RI Philharmonic, and the annual concert series for the Town of Bristol. Because of his diverse musical background, he is at home singing Broadway/musical theatre and opera, as well as jazz and the American Songbook.

He has recorded two studio albums, “O Holy Night,” a classical and secular Christmas album, and “Impossible Dream,” which contains Broadway, classical crossover, and Italian selections, including the work of RI composer, Dr. Enrico Garzilli.   His live recording, “Primavera: Michael DiMucci Live” is available for download and features several original compositions by DiMucci.

Michael DiMucci is co-owner of an Art, Music, and Beauty Studio, One Studio Smooch in Cranston with his wife, Jenny DiMucci.




What’s Happening at BVHS

BVHS Bathrooms
BVHS Bathrooms in Progress

In February we will be making updates to the bathrooms, so there will be no events at North Gate, so we hope you will stop by the following event at the North Smithfield Heritage Association on February 20.



6:30 pm Thursday, February 20,  Christian de Rezendes will be showing selected portions of Slatersville: America’s First Mill Village at Heritage Hall, North Smithfield Heritage Association, 101 Greene Street, North Smithfield, RI 02896. Sequences planned are North Smithfield’s founding in 1871, the Centennial Celebration in 1971, and the creation of Centennial Park.  He will also be showing a segment about a Slater family letter from the BVHS archives.



Michael DiMucci playing the organ at North Gate

3:00 pm, Sunday, March 15:  Michael DiMucci returns to North Gate with a new concert.  Fundraiser for BVHS. Details TBA soon.



6:30 pm-8:15 pm, Wednesday, April 8, Volunteers-In-Parks Skills Workshop: Cemetery Conservation Skills, offered by the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and the Blackstone River National Historic Park at the Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865.  Presenters: Betty and Carlo Mencucci, Greg Duhamel, and Johnelle Bergeron.

The Skills Workshop series is designed for volunteers to learn a new skill or sharpen skills you already have.  This workshop will provide you with a better understanding of historic graveyards, and you will be able to advise people on how to help care for them.  The State of RI celebrates Historic Cemetery Restoration & Awareness Day on Saturday, April 11. To learn about volunteer activities, visit the events page at

Registration for this workshop is required. Contact Suzanne Buchanan no later than April 2, 2020. RSVP to or call 508-234-4242. Read more.

Outhouses in Rhode Island

2:00 p.m.
January 26, 2020
North Gate Toll House
Upstairs Hall
1873 Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI 02865



Raymond Wolf, Outhouses in Rhode Island

Author Ray Wolf is always looking for unique topics in Rhode Island; one day, he wondered if there happened to be enough outhouses left in the state to fill a book. Instead, so far, he’s located enough to fill three books. Come on Sunday, January 26, 2020,  for a fascinating tour of these now almost forgotten buildings of yesterday.

Local Outhouse

Since 2008, Ray Wolf has been writing historical books encompassing the history of Rhode Island, from the creation of the Scituate Reservoir and its significance on his family, to diners across the state; from villages within Rhode Island towns, to, of course, outhouses, volumes I, II and III. Mr. Wolf will also have books with him to purchase. Enjoy his travels throughout the state in search of what at one time was a necessary part of every household.  All welcome.

William Draper, WWII Combat Artist

New Date and Time!
2:00 pm, Sunday, December 8, 2019
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI  02865

William Draper
William Draper

William Franklin Draper  (1912 – 2003)  was born in Hopedale, MA.  His family developed and patented numerous improvements in textile machinery throughout the 19th and early 20th century.  The family business, which became the Draper Corporation in 1917, was once one of the largest manufacturers of power looms and textile machinery in the country.

Draper was named after his grandfather, a Civil War Veteran and U.S. Ambassador to Italy. William Draper, the younger, was slight and had a quiet bookishness about him.  His passions were music and the arts. When the United States entered World War II he volunteered his services as an artist and was eventually given a commission as a Naval Reserve Officer and served as a combat artist. His assignments took him to the Aleutian Islands, Hawaii, and the South Pacific.
 Join former Park Ranger Joshua Bell from Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park as he traces this William Draper‘s remarkable journey around the Pacific using works of art Draper created along the the way.
This talk is free and all are welcome.
Image: Wikipedia

Rivals Unto Death: Rick Beyer Talks about Hamilton and Burr

2:00 pm, Sunday, October 20
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865

Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr

It is the most famous duel in American history. But what prompted the sitting Vice President of the United and the former Treasury Secretary to settle their differences with guns blazing? Rick Beyer, author of Rivals Unto Death, exploores their intricate thirty-year rivalry that led to their deadly encounter, following them through battlefields, courtrooms, bedrooms (!) and arguably the wildest presidential election in history — all the way to their day of destiny in Weekhawken New Jersey.

Rick Beyer

Rick Beyer is a New York Times best-selling author and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His most recent book, Rivals Unto Death, is a compelling new account of the Hamilton-Burr rivalry. Beyer co-authored (with Elizabeth Sayles) The Ghost Army of World War II, a New York Times bestseller, and produced the companion PBS documentary. He has also made films for The History Channel, A&E, and National Geographic and penned the popular Greatest Stories Never Told series of history books. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he lives in Chicago, Il.